Local Plan Update (Agenda Item 7)
To receive an update.
The Director of Planning & Business Manager gave Members the update.
The Planning Policy Team continued to progress the Issues and Options document for the Local Plan intended for consultation in the autumn. Several pieces of new evidence were currently being worked upon which would inform the document, including a strategic housing market assessment, a strategic housing land availability assessment and a retail assessment.
The impact of the recent amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) regulations on the amount of money the district could raise was being assessed. The money would be used to fund infrastructure provision. The key change to the regulations related to the exemption from CIL of self-build dwellings. The Government had defined self build dwellings as those which were either built or commissioned by individuals as their main residence. A full report on the amendments would be presented to the Cabinet meeting on 13 May.
A request to designate a joint neighbourhood plan area for the parishes of Croxton, Brettenham and Kilverstone had been received. The proposed neighbourhood plan boundary would cover the whole of those parishes and included the majority of the land designated for the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension. A consultation on the boundary was currently being carried out and would run until 4pm on 21 May. It was currently anticipated that a report on the outcomes of the consultation would be presented to Cabinet on 1 July.
The parish councils had stated that their aims for the neighbourhood plan were:
- Residential development in conjunction with local needs
- To review requirement and provision of community facilities
- To provide and maintain sustainable parishes and resilient villages
- To protect landscape and nature conservation
- To improve transport infrastructure
- Development of employment and business uses within the parishes
On 6 March 2014 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched its planning practice guidance web-based resource. The website brought together all planning practice guidance into a single site. Importantly the guidance would be reviewed and up-dated regularly. Members were encouraged to view the site at: http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/blog/guidance/
Councillor Duigan asked about the self-build definition. He was concerned that a developer might apply for outline permission for a large number of dwellings and then offer to build them on behalf of individuals, thereby circumventing the requirement to pay CIL. The Director of Planning & Business Manager acknowledged that that was something to be considered. All of the implications were being looked at.
Councillor Claussen noted that he had seen a press article about the Brecks receiving National Park status. He thought that might lead to a better understanding of the Stone Curlew issues and asked that the Planning Policy Team be involved in the process.
The Director of Planning & Business Manager agreed that National Park status could cause a dramatic impact on planning in the District. With regard to the Stone Curlew he thought that Breckland had been at the forefront in commissioning ecology studies to understand their behaviour, but had now reached a point of diminishing returns and it was unlikely that further studies would significantly improve that understanding.